5 Tips To Take The Leap And Expand Your Recruitment Career

If you’re an experienced and successful recruiter ready for the next step in your career, taking a leap of faith into the unknown can feel intimidating.

I should know, as I’ve taken many leaps in mine. In 2010 I moved from Ireland to Singapore where I joined a recruitment company and specialised in engineering roles. Eight years later, I left Singapore for Canberra and spent the next five years specialising in technology recruitment.

Once I realised it was time for a change, I knew I wanted more of a challenge. I wanted to build my own desk at a new business from the ground up – which any recruiter knows is a big move because it’s almost like starting from scratch. But the possibilities excited me, and now a year into this new journey, I can safely say it’s been the right decision.

If you’ve ever thought about what’s next for you in your career, then maybe it’s time to consider building your own desk at a new recruitment company. Here are my 5 tips from lessons I’ve learned along the way…

Tip 1: Choose the right company to build your desk

The recruitment company you choose can make or break your success. Just consider the difference between a workplace where it’s every person for themselves, and one where everyone actually wants you to succeed.

The elements I would consider essential in choosing the right recruitment firm to build a desk include:

  • Reputation – I found HorizonOne’s strong reputation in the marketplace gave me a big leg up as I was never cold calling (too much) prospects and was able to tap into existing relationships
  • Similar values – You need to believe in what the company stands for. I had followed HorizonOne on social media for some time, and already knew I resonated strongly with their values
  • Support from executives – From day 1, I worked with leadership to develop a road map which provided a clear way forward and accelerated my success
  • Financial stability – A good understanding of your financial situation will ensure you can put food on the table while you build your desk. This can sometimes mean a short-term tightening of the belt, in order to achieve the long term potential for big earnings
  • Collaboration – When you choose a company where people look out for each other and are very open to sharing and collaborating, internal referrals and introductions come naturally and are a great way to build your network faster
  • In-house teams – In-house teams provide a level of support that cannot be underestimated. Having an internal finance, marketing and scribing team here is unlike anything I have experienced elsewhere
  • Company events – Events are a great way to meet new people in a relaxed setting
  • Quality processesYou’ll go a lot further if the company you choose has a ‘recipe to success’ that you can follow to fast-track your journey. You can take this as an opportunity to fine tune your skills and learn new ways of approaching your work
  • New technology– Being supported by the latest recruitment technologies means you can be more efficient and focus on candidates and clients
  • Honesty – People move around a lot in recruitment because they’re often over-sold or undervalued. Have an honest conversation with the leaders of the company you want to join, so you can get a sense if they’re genuine

Most of all, you want to choose a recruitment company that is robust and supportive where you also have the freedom to express yourself.

Tip 2: Niche down and focus your mindset

You can’t be everything to everyone, so choose a specialism you enjoy and go after it.

I knew tech recruitment was where I wanted to stay, but I decided to specialise in project services. This is the business side of tech, recruiting for Project and Program Managers, Enterprise Architects, Transformation Managers, and so on.

By being very specific about what you do and who you serve means you’re able to:

  • Build a strong understanding of industry specific skills, jobs and organisations
  • Develop strong, relevant networks
  • Stay up to date on industry changes
  • Add real value to your clients and candidates

Once you know your specialism, try to adopt and maintain a commercial mindset. You only want to say yes to roles that align with where you do your best work, otherwise you may not deliver the results your clients need.

Tip 3: Be organised and self-motivated

No matter how much support you have, you are essentially building your own business. This makes organisation imperative to success.

Try to map out your days and keep a checklist of what you need to do. Being recruitment, there will be days when even the best laid plans go out the window. But if you’re disciplined and prepared, you can get through anything.

You also need to be prepared and motivated to bring energy and focus every day.

Tip 4: Be patient

If you’ve been in recruitment for some time, you’ll know that setbacks come with a territory. I’ve experienced many over the past year, but I stay focused on my goals and what I set out to achieve.

Don’t let anyone tell you that it’s easy…it’s not. You need to put in the work, and have the tenacity to bounce back when you make mistakes or something goes awry.

Tip 5: Referrals are the ultimate reward

Success for me is not about money. It’s about repeat business and referrals.

When you reach a point where clients keep coming back, and people seek you out based on what you have done before, you know you’re doing something well. From that point on, everything else just takes care of itself.

Although it was intimidating, I am now the happiest I’ve been in years. So if you have ever considered taking a leap of faith and building your own desk, don’t let fear talk you out of it. Have a conversation with a company you like, and see what that journey could be for you.


Tom Michael
Senior Recruitment Consultant
HorizonOne Recruitment

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